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Series / Grace and Frankie

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"Have you ever wondered if Ben and Jerry make more than ice cream together?"

Grace and Frankie is a Netflix comedy series, co-created by Marta Kauffman (Friends).

It stars Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin as two rivalrous women whose business partner husbands (Martin Sheen & Sam Waterston) suddenly leave them for one another after admitting to their decades-long affair. With nowhere else to go, both women end up moving into their shared beach house together, and hilarity ensues.

The show's seventh and final season premiered on August 13, 2021, when the first four episodes of the season were made available. The remaining 12 episodes of the season, which production on was delayed due to the pandemic, premiered in April 2022. The series was Netflix's longest-running original scripted programme.

Tropes appearing in the series:

  • The Alcoholic:
    • Coyote is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Mal even refers to him as "the alcoholic", though he's recovering as of the show's timeline.
    • Grace is a seasoned Functional Addict, although her unhealthy drinking habits get a harsher look in Season 2.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Although Grace is generally a Functional Addict, Grace gets unusually wasted in "The Bender", and her normal tendency to be waspish and emotionally unavailable gets awesomely magnified into extreme bitchiness and verbal cruelty to Frankie. She's uncharacteristically ashamed of the incident.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Defied; Robert experimented with other men during a brief period away from Sol, but prefers married life. Other gay characters on the show are shown to be very sexually active, with their partners and others.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The source of Grace's attraction to Byron in episode 6, along with a touch of Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex during an earthquake (a mild example, as they just make out a bit). His blue eyes don't hurt, either.
  • Alternate Continuity: The season 5 finale. After Nick proposes to Grace, both Grace and Frankie realize they are drifting apart and both imagine what life would be like without the other. Grace would have ended up in another loveless marriage; Frankie would have gone even kookier and ended up living with Sol and Robert. Sol and Robert are also worse off trying to live their own lives while being forced to take care of Frankie, and try to pass her on to her kids. The kids are also worse off, for example Brianna is not in a relationship with Barry and Mallory is also stuck in her loveless marriage and acts likes a complacent housewife.
  • Amusing Injuries: In Season 3, Frankie throws her back out and Grace throws out her own trying to help her. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Arch-Enemy: Grace's new husband, Nick, considers Mark Cuban his arch-enemy, which ruins Grace and Frankie's audition on ''Shark Tank''. Turns out he simply hates Cuban for being richer than him, and for once outbidding him to buy a sports team.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Grace and Frankie, if they can leave off the bickering.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A sweet one happens when Robert is having breakfast with Sol in Sol's crappy house after they've reconciled with each other after their breakup, and the upstairs neighbor turns on really loud hip-hop. Robert asks Sol if this happens a lot, and Sol replies "Every day." Robert gets up, looking like he's about to go upstairs and go all lawyer on their asses...and then he holds out his arms and invites Sol to dance with him.
  • The Bartender: Billie, introduced as a plot device in season 2 to help Grace learn something about herself. Comes into her own as this trope later when she realizes that she actually likes tending bar, and even later when Grace goes on a bender. She also appears to be the Bouncer.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Barry, Brianna's accountant. He is also her boyfriend, and is no less beleaguered though their relationship does improve.
  • Berserk Button: Frankie hates being talked about in the third person.
  • Big Fancy House: Both the beach house and the respective houses the pair left.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The finale, "The Beginning". Pretty much all characters are facing a few setbacks, but are hopeful about the future and surrounded by loved ones. Grace and Frankie briefly die, but come back when they decide they're better off together, and Grace will help Frankie as her arthritis takes her ability to paint. Sol and Robert are facing Robert's fading memory, but they're still in love and willing to go through it all together. Brianna, who had to break-up with her boyfriend, and Malory have both been fired, but the two look forward to start something new together. Coyote is happily married and Bud quits his job to pursue something he is more passionate about.
  • Bottle Episode: "The Lockdown" takes place in two locked scenarios: While Grace, Frankie, Sol and Robert, as well as the neighbor couple Jo and Oliver, are locked in an awkward situation Explanation . Meanwhile, Bud, Mallor, Allison and Coyote are stuck in Bud's apartment and have to deliver Allison's baby without Frankie's help.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Frankie, full stop. Including vision quests, flowy gowns, and ringing bowls.
  • Brick Joke: The yurt. Mentioned again in Season 3.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most often the children, specifically Coyote, Bud or Mallory.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Shows signs of kicking in in Season 2, with storylines that take a serious look at infidelity, alcoholism, the difficulty of having your own life if your partner has Alzheimer's Disease, etc.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Or possibly Obfuscating Stupidity on Brianna's part:
    Frankie: And you know who lives in the rainforest? Oh, I don’t know. Only our cousins!
    Brianna: ...The Fleigelmans?
    Frankie: The orangutans!
  • Coming Out to Spouse: The premise of is about two old women whose husbands leave them for each other. The revelation that they are gay despite decades of marriage is a surprise to both Grace and Frankie
  • Cool Old Lady: But of course, considering the leads.
    • Also Joan-Margaret, Sol and Robert's former secretary. She is very British, witty and proper, but is a Deadpan Snarker, curses like a sailor despite abhorring foul language, and gets in nearly as much trouble with Grace and Frankie as she does by herself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frankie and Brianna are the champions.
    Robert: Well, it is what it is.
    Brianna: Great talk, dad.
    • When Grace comments that Mallory has put on weight:
      Brianna: Did my mother just call my sister fat? Aside from my father almost dying, this is the best day of my life.
  • Deus ex Machina: Grace realizes despite her love for Nick her marriage with him is driving her and Frankie apart while also causing her and Nick to fight. While it seems she might decide to divorce or at least separate from him, the decision is made for her when a joint SEC/IRS task force arrests Nick for tax evasion and other white collar crime.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In an effort to advertise their vibrators, Frankie decides to create a national "Donut and Vibrator Day". While Grace tells her this is unrealistic, Robert, while high after eating some of Frankie's edible gummies convinces her to do so. A few 50,000 tweets later, Frankie is seen cooking batches of donuts to send out to her followers. Most of her "donuts" are powdered bagels.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Robert and Sol are divorce attorneys, so there is quite a lot of this.
  • Double Standard: Discussed. Brianna rightly points out that there would be a lot more drama if Robert and Sol had been cheating with women for the past 20 years. Bud later realizes she is right and calls Robert and Sol out on it.
  • Driven to Suicide: Grace and Frankie's old friend Babe decides to commit suicide after her cancer returns rather than suffer through treatment again.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Grace, Brianna and Mallory think a rival company stole their scented lotion. While filing a lawsuit, Grace has a flashback of how she created the scent: while at her favorite seaside bar, drinking several margaritas and enjoying the ocean breeze it came to her. Mallory reveals the rival company has been making the scent for years, and use it on fabrics. Cut to Grace having another flashback where after having multiple margaritas she is passed out on the linen table, explaining where she got the idea for the sent in the first place. They quickly attempt to withhold their lawsuit.
  • Foreshadowing: Nick's business deal are frequently commented upon, even by Nick himself, especially during season 6. He brags about his skills with avoiding taxes, makes trips to the Cayman Islands, and is often away on business deals. At the end of the season, he is arrested for tax evasion. Both Grace and Frankie both comment on how they couldn't see it coming. Earlier, a statue Grace used to help herself get up off the toilet is sold to the president of Uruguay, with the later reveal Nick was selling some of his assets, like his paintings and sculptures.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Frankie's new boyfriend, Jacob, clearly dislikes her best friend Grace. In this case, this seems to stem from the fact that he thinks that Grace is a toxic influence to Frankie, rather than her taking over Frankie's time, though that starts becoming a problem when they open a business together.
    • A variation with Grace and Nick and Frankie. Grace realizes while she loves Nick, if she stays with him she might abandon Frankie, who is visibly upset over being left behind. Grace compromises that while she loves and will stay with Nick, she will also always be there for Frankie, and vice versa.
  • Funny Background Event: In "The Spelling Bee," while Frankie and Grace, the announcer of the spelling bee playing in the background says, "The word is 'negus.'" This is a reference to a viral video of a boy terrified of spelling the word in a spelling bee.note 
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Grace and Frankie's #Rise Up campaign to advertise their "Rise Up" toilets for seniors ended up attracting another completely different audience.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Grace gets intimidated by Grandma Jean, Mallory's kids' other grandma, who's much better at playing with them, can talk to them on their own level and who, unlike Grace, knows better than to pretend to be a clown (because of Mallory's son Macklin's coulrophobia.) Then Frankie points out to her that she's not that kind of grandma: she's the "kind with a drinking problem that inspires them to grow up and become writers." This pays off when Grace realizes that Macklin regards her as wise and knowledgeable rather than fun. She also learns from Mallory she had said something horrible 5 years earlier about her not having anymore children because she apparently needed to start her life again, so Mallory decided to keep it from her that she was pregnant at first.
  • Granola Girl: Frankie, except for the veganism part. She loves eating meat, especially bacon, which is doubly funny because both she and Sol are Jewish.
  • Happily Adopted: Bud and Coyote, more or less.
    • Explored in Season 2, where Coyote invites his birth mother to lunch. She's very nice, and although she's a born-again Christian she's unfazed by Robert and Sol divorcing their wives for each other and seems to be very proud of how Coyote had ended up. Then he asks her when he gets to meet her family. She makes it clear that that's never going to happen, and that they don't even know he exists.
    • After Frankie was upset when she realized the genetic connection between Coyote and his birth mother, Coyote says that Frankie is his mother.
    • In season 6 Bud is strictly against seeking out his biological family, and unusually it's his wife and father who gleefully do that behind his back, although it's more for genetic information than anything else.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Discussed In-Universe. While trying to figure out what to do after they both throw their backs out, Frankie tells Grace a story about a man whose wife was injured in the tub and he hurt himself trying to help.
    They both died.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: Sol and Robert. Several times per episode.
    "I'm never allowed to not be coming out, am I?" note 
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Subverted. Frankie attempts to drown her sorrows with a carton of Ben&Jerry's, soaked in alcohol. She opts for peyote tea instead. Mushroom Samba ensues.
  • The Help Helping Themselves: In "The Horrible Family", the Hansons have a collective Jerkass Realization when they realize that the housekeeper they'd fired for stealing food and smoking indoors was innocent—they'd been doing it themselves and scapegoating her.
    Grace: So you stole cookies from your children and blamed your housekeeper?
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Along with a dose of the Odd Couple, once the pair move into the beach house together.
  • Hypocrite: Robert kicks Sol out after he cheats on him with Frankie, despite the fact that they cheated on Grace and Frankie for 20 years. Grace even calls him out on it.
  • I Call It "Vera": Grace has a secret gun named Louise.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: At the end of Season 3, Grace urges Frankie to move to Santa Fe and live happily ever after with Jacob—even though the idea of life without Frankie clearly devastates her.
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!: When Grace gets rat-arsed on martinis in her favorite bar one morning, Billie the bartender refuses to serve her any more drinks, and Grace invokes this trope (although she doesn't use these exact words.)
  • Imagine Spot: In episode 5, Grace has a fall at the frozen yogurt shop. She breaks her hip and the bickering continues in the hospital. When Grace panics at her MRI, Frankie runs in and stays with her. Turns out it was all her imagination.
    • Another imagine spot takes place at the end of season 5. This ends up being more of a What If?? timeline where Grace married into another loveless marriage with a boring guy, Frankie went crazier and ended up living with Sol and Robert, who are trying to kick her out and move to their own place. Brianna and the other kids are also the saddest we have seen them. Definitely the darkest timeline.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Guy. He ate his best friend's body in a survival situation. He then wrote about it in his book "Eating Harris".
  • Irishman and a Jew: Both Grace and Frankie's and Robert and Sol's interactions count as this trope.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Robert and Sol canceling Grace and Frankie's credit cards. Not only have they, as attorneys, advised others to do the same, but did so to prevent impulsive large purchases, but Frankie was known by both families to make such large purchases under distress, such as the aforementioned yurt.
    • Brianna fires Frankie from the team developing Frankie's vaginal lube, but only because Frankie, who doesn't like the fact that the company has added environmentally unfriendly palm oil to her lube, decides to register her dissatisfaction by rubbing blood (or something that looks like blood) all over her arms during an important meeting with a customer and claiming it's the blood of orang-utans killed in the process of deforestation. As Brianna (and subsequently Grace) points out to her, this was an incredibly stupid and juvenile way of raising the issue, and it hasn't helped the environment in any way: all it's done is seriously damage a business relationship that Brianna has spent years establishing.
  • Jerkass Realization: Grace refuses to take part in Babe's last party before she commits suicide since it goes against her beliefs but then realizes how selfish she's being after being called out by Frankie and Briana about her lack of unconditional love.
    • Briana to after Frankie leaves the lube project because using palm oil goes against her beliefs and gets nothing out of it. Briana tries to make amends by funding Grace and Frankie's vibrators.
    • Sol and Robert's friend Peter seems go through one after firing Sol from the production of 'Man of La Mancha' and his husband calling him out on it. Subverted when Peter reveals after being called out on his being a jerk, he divorced his husband.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Briana is a rather snarky and unpleasant person at times, but she never likes to hurt those close to her. After she kicked Frankie off her lube project, she really felt remorseful since Frankie was like a mother to her. She tries to make amends by funding her and her mother's vibrators.
    • Grace too. She's a more business type of person who has her own standards in how people should behave. But she eventually warms up to others more and tries to put her own beliefs aside for what is right.
  • The Lad-ette: Billie is a very Hollywood version, down to the multiple facial piercings, the penchant for quasi-military clothing, the short hair and the fact that she works as a bartender.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Brianna.
    Brianna: I lost both of my virginities in this house.
  • Magical Realism: There are some moments where the series veer into supernatural elements, mostly for comedy, indicating that Frankie's weird new age beliefs are at least partly correct.
    • In season 5, both Grace and Frankie are able to interact with their dead friend Grace, who acts as a spiritual advisor to them.
    • In the series finale, Grace and Frankie briefly die and go to heaven, where they interact with an angel to successfully allow them to live a little longer.
  • Mama Bear: Frankie becomes this when defending Coyote after he is hurt by his birth mother. She calls her out for getting Coyote's hopes up about being part of her life and then refusing to even tell her family of his existence, even lying to them about going to see a play rather than to meet Coyote.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: When Grace hate-smokes Frankie's pot, once it (finally) kicks in she laughs uncontrollably at the hole in Frankie's face.
  • Meaningful Name: Grace is graceful, Frankie is frank. Sol is sunny. Coyote is homeless.
  • No Bisexuals: Despite 40 years of marriage with multiple children and only 20 years of gay infidelity, no one ever thinks to call Sol or Robert anything but gay.
    • Especially jarring since Sol has a hard time letting Frankie go, stating he still loves her, and even having sex with her once post-breakup. Still, the word "bisexual" is not even muttered, rather having him depicted as confused and finally as nothing but gay.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever Coyote did when drunk, it was bad. He got drunk and crashed his car on Mallory's lawn, then begged her not to marry that guy, after she was already married with a kid on the way.
    • It's also implied in an episode that Coyote impregnated Mallory one summer and she had an abortion. It was brought up when Mallory was pregnant with Madison and that both agree never to speak of it.
    • Frankie's yurt, as of season 3. "It exploded."
  • Opposites Attract: Seen with both Sol and Robert, who are married, and Grace and Frankie, who are not married. Sol and Frankie are Jewish, emotional, hippie-esque people and Grace and Robert are Irish-Catholic, direct, more conservative people, as far as their behaviors go.
  • Product Placement: Occurs a lot in the show. Probably the most common products are Del Taco, Frankie's favorite place to eat at especially when she is high, and Mountain Dew, which Frankie uses in her coffee instead of milk. In general, Frankie is usually the one to bring this up.
  • Protected by a Child: Bud is very much into this trope when it comes to anyone hurting Frankie, and with good reason. As he points out to her, "Dad is the nicest guy in the world, and he broke your heart." For this reason he's deeply suspicious of Jacob, who Coyote immediately warms to. note 
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Brooklyn Decker's pregnancy was written into the show with Mallory being pregnant with twins. The difference is Decker was pregnant with only one child.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Frankie is Red, Grace is Blue.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sol and Robert respectively. Funnily enough, Robert is the one who's actually interested in the more stereotypical aspects of LGBT culture.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Billie, or so Grace thinks, anyway. Turns out that Billie is far more comfortable in her camo pants and wife-beater than in a business suit.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Brianna & Mallory and Bud & Coyote.
    • Brianna is a tough businesswoman with no desire to even be around kids, while Mallory is a housewife and mother of four.
    • Bud is responsible lawyer, whereas Coyote is a former professor who had problems with drugs and alcohol and is now a substitute teacher.
  • Spelling Bee: Frankie and Sol watch every year.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: In Season 6, Frankie attempts to keep Joan-Margaret in the country by finding a man that she can marry quickly for a green card, and even attempting to marry her herself when that falls through. Grace is the one to end the whole scheme by reminding her that, as her bosses, they themselves can guarantee her a work visa and keep her in the country.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter what happens over the course of each season, each season finale (except for the first season) or season beginning results with both Grace and Frankie living together again at the beach house.
  • Straight Gay: Robert and Sol, for twenty years.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Happens with Mallory's date Dan in the season 6 episode "The Short Rib". After criticizing the choice of wine glasses to be used with dinner, defending himself he used to be a waiter himself and has high standards, it reaches a breaking point when the titular short rib arrives. Dan believes it to be burnt; Mallory, Barry and the waiter insist it is charred (Brianna couldn't really care that much). Dan insists the meat is ruined and cuts into it, revealing the food to be fine. Still insisting it is ruined, and hushing up Brianna with a finger wag, Dan ends up punching the meat, sending it flying all over the place. He is later, off screen, escorted out by police.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Stuck in the Middle With You," covered by Grace Potter.
  • A Threesomeis Hot: Season 4 ends with Sol and Robert seemingly having a threesome with their very good looking friend Roy. Subverted when they back out of it in the Season 5 premiere.
  • Two-Timer Date: Frankie tries this briefly in season 6. It doesn't last long.
  • Wacky Startup Workplace: Parodied when the title characters try to pitch their business concept to a super-trendy startup incubator. The office laser tag game and other workplace recreation look cool, but its representative explains that they care about looking cutting-edge and progressive, not about actually incubating new businesses.
  • Wham Episode: The Season 4 finale. Grace and Frankie are pushed into moving into a home, when they realize their kids tricked them into it, they escape to find their house sold.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In season 3, Grace tells Sol that running a business and being with Frankie is all she needs to be happy. Mere minutes later, Frankie tells Grace she's thinking about moving away to start a new life in Santa Fe.